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Video:How to Roll a Cigar

with Jon Stewart

Learning how to roll a cigar is as much an art as anything, but armed with a few basics, you can be on your way to rolling your own.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Roll a Cigar

Information About Cigars

Cigars, Cubanos, Monte Cristos... they may not be savored by all, but they've certainly been enjoyed as far back as the 16th century by men and women of all walks of life. But if you're looking to save some hard-earned dough, take up a new hobby or maybe even start a new career in Havana, you just might consider learning to roll your own cigar.

History of Cigars

It's been said that the best cigars are rolled on the thighs of Cuban virgins. While this common legend has probably helped sell many a cigar down through the ages, alas it's only a myth. In the 19th century, cigar smoking became popular in America, when nearly 8,000 people in New York City were employed rolling cigars. Talk about a smoking economic stimulus plan! It takes master cigar rollers years to perfect their technique, but that doesn't mean you have to wait that long to get the basics down.

Supplies for Rolling a Cigar

To roll a cigar, you'll use three types of leaf:
  • a binder leaf
  • filler leaves
  • and a wrapper leaf

Instructions for How to Roll a Cigar

You'll also need a cutting board and a chaveta, or a sharp knife. Start with the binder leaf, smoothing it out on the cutting board. Then use the chaveta to cut the binder leaf to shape. Do the same with the wrapper leaf. While constructing your cigar, it's important to make sure there aren't any rips or tears in any leaves. This will adversely affect the cigar's burn not to mention the fun out of smoking it.Next, bunch your filler leaves together and roll them inside your binder leaf. Shape the cigar and secure the binder, then wrap the filler and binder inside the wrapper leaf, securing the leaf with pectin or vegetable gum. Voila! You are now the proud owner of a cigar you rolled totalmente a mano (that's "totally by hand" for all you gringos out there).

It does take time and practice. If a cigar is rolled too loosely, it'll be a misshapen mess. If it's rolled too tightly, air won't be able to get through and you won't get a good draw.Once filler leaves are wrapped in a binder, they usually go into a mold and are pressed. Then, they're finished off with the wrapper leaf. However, if you don't have a mold, don't worry. You can still enjoy a hand-rolled cigar even if it hasn't been molded and pressed. Maybe you're of the persuasion that a cigar is just a cigar. But, it's really so much more enjoyable cigar when you've rolled it yourself. I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.
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